Save time, reduce errors and ensure that the most up-to-date information stays at the clinician’s fingertips throughout all stages of the care-delivery process.
With the ever-changing technology landscape and the explosion of tablet options, it’s common for healthcare providers to be hesitant and even overwhelmed when it comes to deploying a mobile computing solution. It’s understandable, because if not done correctly, technology changes can negatively impact clinician workflows and impede the care-delivery process. When done correctly, however, one of the greatest advantages of mobile computing is the ability to electronically document patient data at the point of care without relying on an intermediate source or on memorization.
Using these devices at the point of care allows providers to access patient records and lab results, place orders, administer medication and document care delivery in real time, at the patient’s bedside or from virtually any location. Additional benefits include:
- Removal of common risks and pitfalls through experienced project management and workflow assessments;
- Enhanced productivity through consistent, reliable access to technology;
- Faster turnaround times through improved team collaboration and faster decision making; and
- Improved accuracy through point-of-care documentation processes.
There are many unique challenges associated with mobile computing in healthcare environments, including fragmented workflows, resistant staff, device access, solution ergonomics and durability, network disconnects/slowness and the security of patient data. However, by doing their due diligence and asking the right questions, healthcare providers can develop a much clearer picture of what their specific requirements are and how they can overcome these challenges by selecting the right tablet.
A successful deployment requires a clear understanding of four essential questions:
- How are the processes currently being done, and how do you want them to be done?
- What software are you going to use?
- What environment is the tablet going to be used in?
- What infrastructure is available to support the deployment?
It is also important to develop an asset-management and security plan for both the tablet and the information on the tablet. One of the benefits of point-of-care computing is that it allows clinicians to access the critical information they need when they are face to face with a patient. However, it also means that they are handling sensitive patient data. There are a number of software programs that enable users to remotely disable a tablet and protect the data if the system is lost or stolen. Additionally, certain operating systems provide enhanced compatibility, manageability and security. Healthcare providers need processes and policies in place ahead of the deployment in order to ensure correct infrastructure support.
Last year was a huge year for tablets and saw a multitude of both consumer and business-focused devices hit the market, and 2012 is sure to be no different. With more tablets to choose from than ever before, it’s essential for healthcare providers to examine their workflows and find a solution that truly fits their environment – not the other way around. No longer does the one-size-fits-all approach work; instead, healthcare providers are looking for custom-fit solutions that are specifically designed for their environments, can support essential software applications, have substantial battery life and are powerful enough to support workflows. Now more than ever before, healthcare providers are paying attention to operating system, durability, integrated features and ergonomics.
Mobile computing is a must for today’s healthcare organizations. From clinical documentation and patient education to computerized physician order entry (CPOE) as well as electronic medication-administration record (eMAR) and EMR management, tablets provide healthcare providers with real-time access to data, as well as the ability to gather, analyze and transmit critical patient information at the point of care. Most importantly, however, it’s a way for healthcare providers to improve the safety and overall quality of patient care.
About the author
Mike Stinson is a vice president with Motion Computing. For more on Motion Computing, click here.